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J Neurophysiol. 1994 May;71(5):1917-34.

Dye coupling between rat striatal neurons recorded in vivo: compartmental organization and modulation by dopamine.

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Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260.


1. The presence of dye coupling between striatal neurons was investigated using in vivo intracellular recording and dye injection in adult rats. In 17% of the cases in which a single striatal neuron was injected with Lucifer yellow, more than one labeled neuron was recovered. In control rats, this dye coupling was observed only between single pairs of medium spiny neurons and only when the neuron injected exhibited the Type II response profile as defined by paired-pulse stimulation of corticostriatal afferents. 2. After intravenous administration of the D1/D2 agonist apomorphine at a behaviorally effective dose (i.e., 0.1-0.3 mg/kg), an increase in the incidence (from 17% to 82% of injected cells) and extent (from 2 cells to 3-7 cells labeled per injection) of dye coupling was observed. This effect was mediated by D2 receptor stimulation because administration of the D2 agonist quinpirole caused similar alterations in the incidence and extent of dye coupling (66% coupled). In contrast, administration of the D1 agonist SKF 38393 or the D1 antagonist SCH 23390 did not result in any significant alteration in dye coupling. 3. In control rats, the entire somatodendritic regions of dye-coupled neurons were found to be localized within single matrix compartments of the striatum. However, after intravenous administration of apomorphine or quinpirole, clusters of dye-coupled neurons were found to extend across the patch/matrix boundary. Moreover, dye coupling was observed after injecting cells exhibiting either the Type I or the Type II response profile. 4. In response to D2 receptor stimulation, both the extent and the pattern of coupling between striatal neurons is altered, resulting in direct coupling between neurons that are otherwise functionally and anatomically segregated in the control animal.

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